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Study information

BA Dissertation

Module titleBA Dissertation
Module codeGEO3312
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Jonathan Cinnamon (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module offers you the opportunity to undertake your own independent and original piece of research and enable you to display your skills in tackling specific geographical issues in some depth. The essence of the work is that you are able to demonstrate your ability to undertake your own independent and original piece of research. The dissertation must be independent and original in all phases including design, data collection, data processing and analysis and data interpretation and project write-up.

GEO3312 is a compulsory module which covers the execution and completion of a 30-credit dissertation in the BA programme. It can be taken as an alternative to the 45-credit version (GEO3311).

Module aims - intentions of the module

The point of the dissertation is to give you an opportunity to display your skills in tackling specific geographical issues in some depth. The essence of the work is that you are able to demonstrate your ability to undertake your own independent and original piece of research.

The dissertation must be independent and original in all its phases including design, data construction, data processing and analysis and data interpretation and dissertation write-up. In researching your chosen topic you have to learn to choose between the less-than-ideal alternatives that researchers always meet in practice. The aims of the dissertation are for you to develop:

  • Knowledge of a specific geographical topic
  • An understanding of the challenges of empirical geographical research
  • The ability to deal with practical research problems (e.g. constructing, manipulating, analysing and interpreting data sources)
  • Skills in designing research and linking its subject-matter to other bodies of geographical knowledge
  • Skills in dealing with the complex inter-relationships of real-world processes
  • Transferable skills in inter-personal communication, data construction and analysis, report writing, and effective time management.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain in depth the nature of your chosen research problem and its relevance to the field(s) of study and to the relevant published literature
  • 2. Identify, formulate, analyse and resolve research questions/problems appropriately, judge critically and evaluate evidence/previous research and provide a critical interpretation of data and text
  • 3. Abstract and synthesise relevant information, assess the merits of different theories, concepts, explanations and policies
  • 4. Describe your results and analyse them in terms of the original aims through demonstration of an appropriate approach to analysis and application of a rigorous pattern of experimental conception and/or data collection
  • 5. Present substantive, relevant and realistic conclusions and indicate directions for future research in the area
  • 6. Discuss critically the shortcomings of your research methods and defend your philosophy and methodology
  • 7. Develop and sustain a reasoned argument
  • 8. Demonstrate a high level of literacy, graphicacy, numeracy and conceptual sophistication

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Plan, design and execute a piece of rigorous geographical research, including the production of a final dissertation
  • 10. Undertake effective fieldwork, with due consideration of safety and risk assessment (where applicable)
  • 11. Prepare effective maps and diagrams using a range of appropriate technologies (where applicable)
  • 12. Employ appropriate technical and/or laboratory-based methods for the analysis of social, spatial and environmental data (where applicable)
  • 13. Employ where appropriate social science/geographical survey techniques for the gathering and analysis of data
  • 14. Gather, interpret, evaluate and combine different types of geographical evidence and information
  • 15. Recognise the ethical issues involved in debates and enquiries (where applicable)

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 16. Plan and execute a piece of primary research
  • 17. Undertake independent research (e.g. in library, laboratory, field), effectively, responsibly and with consideration of ethical issues
  • 18. Collect, manipulate, analyse geographical data, and communicate findings using numeric and computational techniques where applicable
  • 19. Communicate research problems and ask relevant questions
  • 20. Liaise effectively with public and private bodies where appropriate
  • 21. Structure a major piece of research work, and present it competently and clearly (e.g. write coherently, create and use diagrams, figures, appendices using appropriate C&IT)
  • 22. Work independently (i.e. personal motivation, decision making, awareness, responsibility and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)

Syllabus plan

You hand in a dissertation proposal at the start of Term 3 of the second year as part of the assessment for module GEO2326. You are assigned an advisor who discusses the proposal in May and June. Data gathering / analysis is carried out in the summer vacation and in Term 1 of the final year. A compulsory progress report is produced and discussed individually with your supervisor within the first three weeks of Term 1 and within the first three weeks of Term 2 of the final year. The dissertation is handed in on the last Thursday of Term 2. You have eight group tutorials across Terms 1 and 2, in addition to five hours of themed support lectures on dissertation work. You are asked to seek your advisor as and when necessary and other members of staff where appropriate. You should expect up to four hours of individual support from your dissertation supervisor. Detailed advice is provided in a Dissertation Handbook distributed in Term 2 of Year Two.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Personal tutorials (held within Term 1 and Term 2)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Group tutorials focusing on student led issues such as data analysis and presenting research
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Lectures on key issues in dissertation preparation, analysis and writing
Guided Independent Study281Research, reading and dissertation writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Progress reports submitted at the beginning of Term 1 and Term 2 400 wordsAllOral
Oral presentation of dissertation results in group tutorial10 minutesAllOral from tutor and peers

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation1008000 wordsAllWritten

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertationAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Clifford N.J, and Valentine G., (2003) Key Methods in Geography, Sage (London).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search


Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

2019/0: GEO2325 Research Methods for Human Geography and GEO2326 Research Design in Human Geography
2020/1: GEO2327 Geographies of Injustice: Research Methodologies in Action and GEO2328 Geographies of Consumption: Doing Human Geography Research

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date